If you were to travel across the world you would discover the many different stances countries have on alcohol consumption. For example, the legal drinking age can be as low as 16 in China and France, while it’s 18 in countries like Australia and Mexico and 21 in the U.S. Some countries also have a higher legal blood alcohol content level.
Social and cultural differences also play a role. For example, European families tend to be indifferent to their children having a sip of wine with dinner; meanwhile, did you know that in some countries drinking and driving is publishable by death?
It’s interesting to see how drinking is perceived through these worldly lenses; however, as Christians what’s more important is what God teaches us about drinking. We know based on Scripture that people in Jesus’ time consumed alcohol (Jesus’ first public miracle was changing water into wine) but for many people the question still remains: Is drinking alcohol a sin?
This is a topic that falls under a category I like to call “Scripturally Okay but Potentially Sinful.” Scripture does not forbid drinking alcohol—that is, alcohol in and of itself is not sinful. Actually, some Scripture discusses drinking positively. For instance, Ecclesiastes 9:7 says to “drink your wine with a merry heart.”
Despite this, alcohol can lead to sin in the form of addiction or drunkenness, which leads one towards potentially careless words and reckless actions. Let’s take a look further...
Drunkenness: We tend to have less control over our words and actions when under the influence. Yet Ecclesiastes 5:6 says, “Do not let your mouth lead you into sin.” Drinking can easily loosen our lips and leave us regretting words we said while not clearly thinking.
Addiction: You yourself might be aware of your alcohol limits, but someone you know might not. You might not be an alcoholic, but someone else may be. We have the right to drink; however, drinking in front of someone who is struggling with alcoholism is not okay. It is disrespectful and does not live out righteousness. As 1 Corinthians 8:9-13 says, “But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak ... Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.”
The bottom line is that drinking is lawful, but it may not be helpful. It is not unhelpful for all, though. Drinking is something that can be enjoyed in moderation and in appropriate circumstances, which you must use your judgment in order to distinguish.
By: Allison Boccamazzo